Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The British Super Team. Ahem. Right.

I thought the drama of F1 would end with the Abu Dhabi spectacle earlier this month. For someone who has followed the sport for well over a decade now, this is naive, shameful and plain stupid, and I apologise.

The 2009 Formula1 season may be over, and the celebratory champagne barely dry, but the motorsport news desks would rarely be busier.

New teams, old teams with new names and new colours, new drivers, old drivers in new teams, the sport is still trying make up its mind on a 2010 look.

The most delectable piece of news however, is the prospect of the 2008 World Champion and 2009 World Champion driving for the same team.

As someone who still has to swallow hard before referring to either Hamilton and Button as a World Champion, I'm looking forward to this, just to see someone get cake on their face.

And I'm not the first to think that someone is going to be Button.

"British Super Team"

The man whose title challenge nearly came undone following a spectacular mid-season slump (and that's only putting it nicely).

Driving in the same team as the man who was the leading points scorer in the second half of the season, and who in a three years has proved himself to be an infinitely more competitive racer.

The no. 1 on Jenson Button's McLaren will infuriate Lewis Hamilton no end, but there is little doubt who will be number 1 within the McLaren team. Speaking to reporters earlier this year, Hamilton is quoted to have said that Button would only be "borrowing" his title.

"I look forward to challenging him next year and taking my title back," he reportedly said.

Snigger. Good luck Jenson.

The British media has already begun extolling the virtues of the "British F1 Super Team." The excitement of having two British drivers - both World Champions as we are never allowed to forget - in a British team seems too much for even the BBC to handle. In a seemingly desperate attempt to justify that Button's switch is not simply about show-me-the-money, the Beeb says:
But Button's preference for McLaren is not solely to do with money, according to sources. He also believes it is the best option for his career.
 Jense may well get his "competitive car", but put him in the same car as his countryman and now team-mate, and a competitive car may not be enough.

Here's to a season of Snigger.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Live Music (Coming soon to a cinema near you)

Last week, I watched This is It. While the MJ plaudits may be taken for granted, this post is not about the genius that Michael Jackson was.

It’s about how much I enjoyed the experience of watching a ‘concert’ on a large screen, eating popcorn and having the music sound better than ever before.

I love my music, and I know my music largely as a result of exposure to both licensed and unlicensed digital music.

For years now, sections of the music industry have been lamenting the loss of revenue caused by illegal music downloads. At the same time, even two years ago, reports estimated that live music revenue would overtake recorded music sales.

People like me, lucky enough to have heard of bands from the other side of the world, bands that MTV or commercial radio wouldn’t even sniff, would happily pay (or consider paying – I’m pretty sure I can’t afford U2 on most days) to see someone worth more than manufactured pop on little plastic disks.

Unfortunately though, with only practically retired rockstars (Mr. Big? Seriously?) coming to my town, I think I’d jump at the opportunity to hear my favourite music ‘live’.

Live music from the other side of the world

On November 25, fans from 16 countries tuned in to watch U2 live on YouTube. The rock group was playing to an audience of 10,000 at Pasadena, California, but 10 million online viewers were part of the show at the same time as well.

A recent Wired report talks about the increasing popularity of such live music webcasts, with players like Billboard, Sony and MySpace organising live online shows.

The report goes on to suggest how these shows, while being remarkable examples of an industry finally adopting new marketing practices, would be that much more memorable as experiences when being watched in a cinema, in a crowd, rather than as a thing between just you and your PC.

I’d fully agree.

I like Michael Jackson because he sounds good, even on my laptop speakers. I don’t need to elucidate on how amazing it was to be able to listen to his songs in surround sound. Add to it the excitement of watching what was technically a lavish stage performance, and I’d say it was Definitely Worth It.

Why can’t we have more of that?

If acts still dream of being rockstars, I’d say this is as close as they’ll get.

Of course, in no way can a show watched in the cinemas take the place of the real concert experience – of watching the bands up close, with maybe more than a little jostling, of being part of a 10,000 plus crowd.

But this could be a way for an industry to adapt, a way for audiences to acknowledge creativity and talent, and large groups to be part of a process of culture building, based around shared experiences.

It’s like when the movies started and going to the cinemas was a real event. Live concerts in cinemas could well be the beginning of a new form of entertainment, and a lucrative one at that. I'm in.

Image courtesy p4nc0np4n aka Victor. 

Monday, 2 November 2009

Meet the Star

Look who got a cool 500 words to write about herself in the paper. 

Education Times Bangalore, The Times of India, 2 Nov, 09.

Note that I also got not one, but two pictures. Neither of them embarrassing. (Have a friend who picked one for me and Photoshop that did the rest, to thank for that.)

Also note the quote that makes the headline.

 I'll admit - it's not just Mum that thinks I'm a natural at this stuff. I'm a Me fan too.


(The link to the page, pdf format.)
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